The Socialista; Adama Jobe, winner of Miss Africa Netherland 2015 (COVER STORY)

The Socialista #1 2015

The Socialista is a vibrant and uplifting section created by Youma Osseh Wally and Aysha Jones that focus on highlighting and promoting creative talents from mainly Africa on Fashion 9one1. The first article introduces the amazing Adama “Adu Flex” Jobe, a multi-talented young black beautiful model with visions beyond measure.

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“If you never try you will never know so I would be really honoured to be able to represent The Gambia in Miss world. I don’t think anyone has ever gone that far” Said Adu.

Can you tell me about yourself and origin?

Adu – “I am Adama Jobe 20 years of age, born and raised in The Gambia. I was born in Serekunda but grew up in Bakau. I recently joined my mother in the Netherlands where I am furthering my education. I am Wolof by tribe”.

Wow, that’s wonderful because I am from Bakau and als0 grew up there. So what got you into modeling and for how long have you been modeling?

Adu“Well, at first I did not want to be a model. I wanted to be a human rights lawyer. I did not know much about show biz or modeling but I kept on receiving remarks from people that I should be a model. I first participated in a beauty contest in Bakau which I won. From there some people tried to convince me that I could be a great model. My coach by then Mr. Calvin Williams told me that beauty contest does not come as much as modeling and I should be a model instead. So I did my first show and it got huge and people really liked me. I had a lot of offers from companies and did a billboard for Comium. That’s how everything started and I did not even realize how fast I grew. I took part in Fashion Week Gambia and Gambia Fashion Week which are considered big fashion events in The Gambia. I actually started modeling in 2011 which is about four years ago”.

As you said earlier, you now live in the Netherlands with your family where you are studying and still pursuing your modeling career. What are your different experience being a model in The Gambia and The Netherland if you are to compare?

Adu – “It is very different. Different in the sense that there is actually colour/race involved. When I was in The Gambia I have been walking on runways with a few tall, black and skinny models and we just walked in shows with no strict rules. Things got different when I moved to the Netherlands because whenever I get on the stage I feel that I am representing something because I am usually the only black girl or among a few in a whole show. I usually need my own shade of makeup and I am always different from others which I love though. The modeling here is a little bit more strict and professional, but I still give all my credits to The Gambia where I started and learned the basics even though I am growing more as a professional model in the Netherlands. When I compare the both of them, It is very different I can say”.

In every career there are pros and cons and if you read the biography of many successful people today, you will realize that some of them have gone through a lot of ups and downs. Was there any particulate incident or moment that almost made you give up your modeling career?

Adu – “As you said the ups and downs are faced in every career and modeling is not an exception. Just a few months ago I almost quit because of some things I was not happy about my agency. I believe every hard work deserves some credits and get paid for it. I feel they were really not being honest with me, especially regarding the money I earned which I did not appreciate. I left the agency and I just got signed by a new one. It is really hard because the lack of respect and inequality I get sometimes is not appreciated at all. For example, I have to go to a show with my own makeup and other products because I am dark skin. A lot of people think that when you are modeling in Europe it is easy, but that’s not the case because I can remember clearly when I worked in Fashion Week Gambia as well as other events, you get paid the very night of the event before you go home. Here it is totally different and in most cases, payments are delayed and involves taxation and so. It is really difficult and tough, but at the end of the day its not all these things that make me do it but more about my passion for my job and I have actually fallen in love with it”.

That can be really frustrating, but it seems that your biggest motivation is your passion for modeling which keeps you going which is very good.

I know you dream big and you are not only a dreamer but also pursue your dreamers to always see yourself on top. Is your dream as big as wearing the Miss world crown representing your country The Gambia?

12120094_1641977462743253_1075465248002406347_oAdu – “Ooh wow! That is very huge. Thank you for believing in me. Well, I don’t think it is the end. I really think there is more coming and for some reasons I say we have gone this far so we can go further and further. I always use the word WE because I am not really doing this for me personally because it has more to do with Gambia than myself. It is a long journey and a very tough one and you need opportunities to be able to participate in such pageants. If an opportunity presents itself, I would definitely not think twice, but GO GO GO for it. If you never try you will never know so I would be really honoured to be able to represent The Gambia in Miss world. I don’t think anyone has ever gone that far. It is really amazing. I am actually shaking thinking about it. Why haven’t I ever thought about it? (Laughs)”.

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«««Designer – M.A.F Couture«««

Well, there is nothing impossible my dear. You are beautiful, talented, determined and focused. You are a winner and it is all in you so let this be part of your vision and you will surely get there one day.

What are your challenges in general being a black model aiming to the top? What could be your possible obstacles in making you realize your dreams?

Adu –“My biggest challenges to becoming a super model or a beauty queen to the highest level is finding myself. It actually has nothing to do with anybody else but me being comfortable and confident in myself. The realisation that I am representing #blackbeauty #africangirls has hit big and am actually at the top level now therefore, if I am representing it then I should do it right. Right now going all natural is what’s in my head because I feel I should represent black beauty to the highest. I am thinking of cutting my hair and growing a natural Afro letting go of the wigs and other things. These are the things I call challenges and also getting the right opportunities to achieve my objectives”. 

Besides modeling what other things are you good at?

Adu – “Apart from catwalk I love dancing. I started dancing way before modeling. In school, I was in a dance group with two other close friends of mine and we use to represent our school in dancing competitions. Dancing is part of my great talents and that’s why I performed a break dance as my talent at the Miss Africa Netherlands Pageant. Apart from other hobbies, my education is very important to me. I never skip school for a modeling job”.

It can be tough being a celebrity having to deal with school, home and your private life. How do you cope?

Adu – “It is sometimes very difficult because I want to be as open and as reachable as possible to my friends and loved ones. Sometimes I have to be away from social media and I miss chatting with my friends. I never thought it would come to a point whereby I wouldn’t be able to respond to all the messages on What’s app etc. It is really tough here because of school and time is always against me. When you are one minute late you might miss your bus to school or work. I just do my daily activities as any regular person. I actually do not regard myself as a celebrity even though it sounds weird (Laughs). In Gambia a lot of people recognize me and usually approached me in the streets complementing me for my hard work. I was actually on many billboards and some regarded me as a famous person but I never let it get above my head. I am planning on going to The Gambia soon and I am very excited. I don’t know how things will turn out but I guess it will be great”. 

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                Photographer – Erwin Verweij

Is there anything you would exchange for modeling or make you quit it?

Adu – Oh wow!! That’s a tough one. The beautiful thing about modeling is that you can combine it with a lot of things. I am studying international communication management, which is in the media sector so I can do for example a talk show and still be a model. I wouldn’t exchange it for another career or anything except for family. I am prepared to drop modeling any day for the sake of my family when it reaches a point where they really need my support, time and attention and the modeling is getting in the way”.

That is adorable. Family first. I know you inspire a lot of people both Gambians and non-Gambians. The industry you are in is also very big with lots of stakeholders you will come across with. From now on lots of them would like to work with you e.g. Photographers, fashion designers, makeup artists, stylists etc. You would see a lot of new developments and changes in your life as you grow from strength to strength. In most cases when some people reach certain levels in their life, they seem to change their attitudes, lifestyle, believes an so on because of fame, media influence, new friends etc. My word of advice is to keep your spirit up because you are known to be very humble, open and down to earth. Believe in yourself and let nothing on earth make you forget your origin, family, friends and the people that helped you get to where you always prayed to be.

Is there anything you want to tell your fellow models, the stakeholders in the fashion and entertainment industry and fans?

Adu- “Thank you so much. I am really honoured and appreciate your advice and would definitely keep it in mind always. My advice to any girl wanting to be a model or is already in the modeling world is to keep their heads up, be focused and also keep it as clean as possible. And to the stakeholders, the photographers, designers and others, please try to be upfront and honest with the models. They need to get paid. To friends, family, fans and also the magazine you represent, I would like to say a very big thank you for the love and support. Thanks”

Thanks Adu for your time and for honouring my prompt interview request. I wish you all the best in your future endeavours.

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